So you’re looking to start yoga ? Perhaps you need to DE-stress, or it holds your interest, you want to lose weight or maybe your friend is dragging you to her studio. Well no worries because in this article we will discuss the top 10 poses for beginner yogis. These poses have been rated on their usage- they tend to be the building block of most yoga styles, practices and poses. As well as this they can easily be adjusted and positioned so you start on the right foot.
Yoga poses for beginners
1. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Whether you’ve been to a yoga class or not I’m sure you’ve heard of the very popular pose- the downward dog. This pose is a major pose that beginners must immediately add to their repertoire because it’s used a lot in a flow or vinyasa (set of poses also known as sun salutation) and is used as the basis of other poses such as the Pigeon pose. This is also a resting pose you can move into after a vigorous series of more challenging poses.
The downward dog is essentially an upside down “V” that your body makes. To do the pose start by standing with your legs hip width apart then hinge at the waist planting your hands into your mat. Then lower your legs as if you were doing a push-up, when they are finally there lastly push up your hips so that your body makes the upside down “V” shape we discussed.
2. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
This asana is another pose used a lot in Vinyasa (and sun salutation) many times before or after the downward dog. It can be relaxing as you arch your back to release stress and the difficulty level is low.
In order to do the cobra start by laying face down with palms placed directly beside shoulders spread your fingers while pushing your chest away from the floor. Straighten your arms as much as possible keeping feet and legs on the floor then slowly lift your chin upwards and tilt your chest towards the ceiling.
3. Plank Pose (High Chaturanga)
This pose you’ve probably done before in your high school gym class or you are at least familiar with. It is used a lot outside yoga as a core exercise to strengthen the abdominal. It tends to be one of the trickiest poses due to the fact that it looks easy and isn’t hard to get into but really strengthens and challenges the stomach. This pose is used before the low chaturanga that you will move into following a sun salutation sequence.
To do plank pose press your hands into the floor with legs out behind you distancing them a little more inwards then hip distance. Then create a straight even line from the top of your head down to your feet. The straighter you are the more muscle and flexibility you are creating.
4. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose is one of the most relaxing and much like downward dog used after a series of quick vinyasa to stretch out muscles and unwind. You may find problems with this pose if your have bad knees, if in a studio setting ask your instructor to help you find a variation for the pose and perhaps utilize a yoga block to lessen the stress.
To do this pose kneel on the floor then spreading your knees hip width apart. Then lay your torso down with your head touching the floor in between your knees exhaling into the pose. The last step is to stretch your arms directly beside you or in front of you.
5. Runner’s Lunge (Ardha Mandalasana)
Another one of those popular gym class poses the runners lunge actually is used often by runners because it has the ability to strengthen the legs and relieve the back. This pose will also be used to set you up for the warrior poses which we will discuss next.
To do runner’s lunge start with both legs together and then shoot one of them back so that your leg not back you are leaning forward into.
6. Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)
The warrior pose is proud just like its name and although foundational its hard as you have to move your arms and chest up while pushing down on your back leg.
From runner’s lunge stand back up putting one leg behind you and pointing that foot to the corner of the mat the leg is (example: right leg back point the toes on that leg right) then lunge forward with your other leg bringing your arms and chest up with strength.
7. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
Same mindset as warrior 1 but with a variation on it.
To do this plant one leg that will be your back leg parallel to the short edge of the mat and step out with your other leg straight. Then lift both your arms parallel to your legs palms facing down and lean into your front that (the one that isn’t parallel)
8. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Strong and tall like a mountain. This pose is the basis once again of many other poses such as the transition into runners lunge, dancer’s pose and many more. This pose can be used to restrengthen and steady breathing throughout practise.
Stand at the top of your mat with your big toes together and heels slightly apart. Allow your arms to relax gently at the sides with palms facing forward and shoulders down.
9. Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
It sounds a bit scary but it will probably come to be one of your favorite poses. This pose is used a lot in hot yoga to allow your body to relax, getting into a rhythm or breathing and adjust to the high temperatures of the room. It allows all parts of your body to be heavy and relaxed but beware your stomach will probably grumble !
To do corpse pose lay down with your arms by your side and palms up, allow your feet to fall heavy to the side with legs hip width apart. Make any adjustments you need if your neck feels sore move your head and fix your tail bone when you have at last reached a blissful place allow your eye to gently close and focus on gentle breathing in and out of your nose.
10. Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This is our final beginner pose as well as the final gym class pose we will be talking about. It will be complicated to explain but when you google it and see it in your yoga class it will automatically click in.
Start by extending both legs forward while sitting on your bum cross one leg over the opposite leg (so for example cross your right leg over your left leg) then position the arm of the crossed leg straight beside the hips (so for the example the right arm would be pushed down into the floor beside the hips) then take the other arm placing it on the other side of the crossed leg and twist your spine (example: the left arm goes on the right side of the right legs twisting your core) in this pose make sure you are extending your back.
So test out these poses and when you make it to the studio you’ll be golden.